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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’m looking to build a theater in my basement. The theater area is about 177” W x 232” D. My use would probably be 80% movies, 20% TV.

In my mind, I have a couple of options given the relative lack of depth:
  • Two rows of 4 seats with a raised platform and a 133” 16:9 screen with in-wall speakers to the left, right, and bottom of screen
  • One row of 4 seats with a 160” 1.40:1 AT screen
I’ve been working with a consultant on a layout. He suggested the 133” screen route with two rows of seats, citing picture quality as a reason to stay away from AT. He designed bump-outs to the left and right side of the screen for B&W CT8.4 LCRS on-wall speaker as the front 3, with dual JL e112 subs below the left/right.

Complete recommended equipment list from the consultant:
  • Projector: Sony VPL-VW325ES
  • Screen: Screen Innovations ZET133PW-BKNA-SU-NA
  • Front (x2) / Center: B&W CT8.4 LCRS in wall
  • Side (x2): B&W CWM7.5 S2 in wall
  • Rear (x2): B&W CCM7.5 S2 in ceiling
  • Atmos (x4): B&W CCM 362 in ceiling
  • Subwoofer (x2): JL Audio e-Sub e112
  • Receiver: Anthem MRX 1140
I’ve attached pictures, floor plans, and the consultant’s design renderings. My question for you guys is, if this was your project, what would you do and why, and is the equipment suggestions solid, or are there better options to consider?

Considerations:
  • I want as much of a ‘movie theater’ feel as I can get, but I’m not sure if the 174” viewing distance with the 160” screen is too close
  • Number of seats is not a priority to me. I’d rather have an ideal single-seat “sweet spot” over being able to accommodate 5+ seats
  • I think I like the clean look of speakers behind the screen, and having the L/C/R inline at the appropriate height
  • I’m looking for a 7.2.4 Atmos setup
  • I’m considering various style treatments
  • Consultant recommended making a closet behind the screen for equipment that would be about 40" deep which would extend the closet in the picture, but I'm not sure I want to sacrifice that depth. Where would you put it?

Room pictures:
Hall Flooring Interior design Floor Line
Hall Interior design Architecture Flooring Floor
Houseplant Interior design Architecture Flooring Hall


Floor plans (2-row seating, 133" screen and single row, 160" AT screen options):
Schematic Rectangle Font Parallel Technical drawing
Rectangle Schematic Font Parallel Slope


Consultant renderings (16:9 screen with two rows vs. sectional option):
Rectangle Sky Facade Composite material Urban design
Rectangle Couch Wood Flooring Symmetry


My "rendering" for a 160" AT screen:
Rectangle Shade Wood Material property Screenshot
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wanted to give you my perspective on the AT screen aspect coming from someone who started without one. We had a basic theater room with an on-wall 110” non-AT 16:9 screen, with the first row sitting about 12’ away with GoldenEar Triton 2 mains and a SuperSat 60C center below the screen. The 110” 16:9 screen was as big as we could go at that distance without getting motion sickness in jerky-camera movies/scenes. We auditioned on the bare wall for quite a while before deciding on that screen size.

For me/us, the center-speaker-below-the-screen and the mains so far out from the edges of the screen with that setup, the sonic imaging was so “not movie theater” that we decided to remodel so we could have a false wall at the front and do a 2.35:1 AT screen with all speakers behind the screen. While we have been doing the 2.0 remodel for far too long (personal issues), based on other viewing and listening experiences I’ve had I’m confident I’ll be very pleased with the result compared to what we started with and enjoyed for 4 years previously.

If you go with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the best movie experience, be sure you go big enough to ensure the height for TV footage will be big enough for you. And ensure your projector will be able to deal with the aspect ratio changes for both movies (some are 2.35:1, some are 1.85:1, others are 1.78:1 just like HDTV) and TV. My Panasonic PT-8000 projector couldn’t auto-zoom without manually re-aiming the projected image unless the lens height was exactly at the top of the screen (which mine could not be installed at due to an insanely high 11.5’ ceiling height (another issue we are dealing with in the remodel).

Good luck.
I do like the 'theater' quality of a 2.35:1 screen, and am leaning more toward that with a single row. My only concern is the 12-14.5' viewing distance will feel too close with a 160" diagonal screen, especially if the screen surface isn't as clear as a non-AT, but that will be hard to tell without doing what you did and demo it once the wall is up. The 160" 2.35:1 screen would be the exact same height as the 133" 16:9 screen the consultant recommends.

I'm also not sure if I should consider standard speakers inside a deeper cavity behind the screen, or stick with the in-walls to maximize the room depth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In regards to two rows versus one row, it really comes down to how you will use the theater. If you expect large audiences most of the time, then the two rows make sense. In my case, I've yet to exceed my single row 3 seat + jumper seat in the back capacity. 99% of the time its just me and the single row is more than sufficient.
Yeah, it's a case where I could see us having the occasional movie night with friends, but the vast majority of the time it's going to be just myself, my wife, and our three small children, and the kids can sit on beanbag chairs on the floor for all I care. 😄

The design also incorporates a bar that could accommodate 3-4 more people in the back, so like I said, I'm not really that concerned with the number of seats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You guys with basements have it made. My first thought would be to swap the theater and game room areas. I'm sure you have reasons, like the stairwell and exterior door in the game room. For flow, it seems to make sense to keep gaming, kitchen and game room/pool table/darts/theater lobby together then enter a theater, vs walking through a theater into a game room.
We thought about that. You're right, the stairwell and the 61" doorway would make it fairly awkward to place seating, and definitely not big enough to put two rows. Plus, it's not shown here in the floor plan, but there's a corner fireplace in the bottom right corner that breaks things up.

So the idea is you come down the stairs into the "lobby" where we would have a pinball machine, slot machine, maybe a candy bar. And then to the left you enter the theater through the open doorway.

Here's roughly what that would look like if we put the screen and seating in there:

Rectangle Font Slope Parallel Pattern


We just went from 16:9 to 2:40 and love it. I have to manually adjust going back and forth and don't mind at all. Even yellowstone is in some wonky AR between the 2 and allows me to go slightly larger than 16.9
Nice. What projector are you using, and how big is the screen/seating distance?

I don't know much about projectors, but I see some of the higher-end ones have lens memory which lets you switch between different ARs on the fly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My first thought is sack your designer.

This is my AT screen with a crappy old Optoma HD50 1080 projector - and the screen is a DIY made with Spandex which cost me about $75USD

Also 2 rows with bar seating won't fit comfortably, and rows of 4 seats will also be a tight fit and likely end up with outside seats having surround speakers blasting in their ears.
It's definitely possible that the 2 rows won't fit comfortably That's what I'm concerned about. A single row of 4 seats may be the most optimal given the space. There's no point in having a row of 3 or fewer, since that would either offset the seating way off to the left, or provide a completely unnecessary space to the left of the seats. The seat that is aligned center to the screen is what I'm mostly concerned about. As long as the imaging is great there, the rest don't matter as much.

As for the design, he showed me a similar concept in his showroom that I liked and he ran with the idea of putting a stone texture behind a backlit screen. I'm not 100% sold on it. I'm considering making it as simple as possible as just a screen with hidden speakers (whether they're behind the screen or not).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My room has alot of not ideal challenges too, I get it. I only mentioned because you asked for opinions. Something like this was my thought, without knowing if all the measurements would work.

We've had an old Epson 8700UB forever. When we considered 2:40 we put a sheet for a few weeks and played with sizes and seating distances, again with our room constraints, and settled on 127" 2:40/100" 16:9 at 12' distance. Anything closer gave us headaches in action scenes.
Unfortunately, don't think what you drew will be possible because the wall that divides the 'lobby' and what I designated as the theater room is structural. That was one of the first things we thought of. The builder said it could be possible to extend the header, but there is a bump-out on the right side for the septic line. That's what the 8" thick bump out accounts for and moving that would be very expensive.

Whatever you do will be awesome, good luck
Thanks, man! I hope so!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sorry I just looked closer at your drawing - I assumed there was a solid wall at the back but now I see it is an 18" wide bar ?? I n which case 2 rows of seats will be fine - but I would go 2 rows of 3 otherwise the LH seats will have crappy acoustics and likely have a surround speaker blasting in their ears.
Yes, that's right. 18" deep bar behind the seats. The alternative to having a row of 4 is to just have an empty space. I think I'd rather have the extra seat there. Only other option would be to create an additional isle on the left side and move the bar away from the wall, but that seems to just be a waste of space as well. Then again, maybe it would balance it out. I'll have to play with that in my drawing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Depends on the screen. Seymour AV is a good place to get DIY material that looks stunning.

B&W CT series puts you against the likes of JBL Synth, Procella, Ascendo, Grimani, JTR, Genelec, etc. I personally prefer Procella Audio in your budget.

However you could do in walls many companies make some stunning in walls from Wisdom, Totem, Monitor, Next Level Acoustics, Focal just to name some. They have their positives. Not all in walls are created equal.

The receiver choice is excellent.

I would suggest contacting Modus VR and see if they have a dealer/consultant in your area who uses their software. Contact them and use the VR to pick out screen size and seating arrangement.
So many speakers to choose from.

Another thing I should mention is I have Ascend Acoustic Sierra towers and Sierra Horizon center, all with ribbon tweeters, that I'm currently using in the living room. My initial goal was to use those in the new home theater setup, but the consultant clearly wants to sell me B&Ws. I also have a pair of Sierra Lunas for surrounds, but given the new room shape, will have to go with in-ceilings for rear and side surrounds.

What would be better quality? cavity for those floor speakers, or the in-wall B&Ws? How much depth do you think would be necessary to properly house the floor speakers? Would there be timbre issues if I went with Sierra fronts and B&W surrounds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Consultants shouldn’t sell anything. They suggest or specify.

If they’re selling they’re a dealer/installer.
This person loses credibility by suggesting the Screen Innovations screen over AT and mentioning PQ as the reason.

Honestly you have nice speakers. I’d consider replacing the Horizon with another Tower and build just enough space for a baffle wall and grab a Seymour AT screen.

Id save money and use your current speakers.

I would buy these for in ceiling:


They should match up well with your tweeters.
if any more speakers are needed get more Lunas and brackets and just attach them to the walls and aim them.

Use the money you save on the Baffle Wall and Seymour screen and some acoustics.

The Anthem will make those Ascend sing!
He's a designer/dealer who subcontracts construction.

Only concern with building a baffle wall is that it's going to have to be pretty deep, especially if I want to use my SVS PB13. I'll have to draw it out and see how it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I wo


I would buy another PB13.

Id also keep them out in the room and test where they sound best.

Projector is solid but I would look at the JVC NX series closely. The NZ series is available but the entry NZ is $10K and 8K e shift. At $15K the middle of the pack NZ is the superior PQ but at that price point the Sim2 Crystal is available. If HDR is something you want to have awesome tonemapping for the Sim2 and JVC and are best.

I think you could save money using your speakers and see if you can get a good deal on a NX-7 or look into the NZ line. Still the Sony is a solid projector.
I know the PB13 is discontinued these days. If I were able to find one used, how would two of those stack up to two JL e112s? I've heard good amazing things about the Fathoms, but I have no experience with the E-sub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
SVS has a model to match. Let me figure out which one.

JL makes good stuff. However, you have a decent sub. Add another SVS and use that JL money on the projector and baffle wall.
It looks like the PB-4000 is a close match, at least driver/size wise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
It might be smarter to go with a 150" 2.35:1 AT screen. I think It looks more aesthetically pleasing not being all the way close to the walls.

Here's a quick sketchup I did. I also added a component closet that goes into the other room, but I'm not sure if that's a good solution or if I should move those things away from the living space all together (I have an unfinished area I can route everything to)

Rectangle Material property Gas Parallel Art
 
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